Gotham Awards: Benh Zeitlin Wins Breakthrough Director

The Hollywood Reporter
Gotham Awards: Benh Zeitlin Wins Breakthrough Director

NEW YORK -- After a monologue by Gotham Awards host Mike Birbiglia that featured jokes written by his Twitter followers and a reciting of nominated attendee David O. Russell's infamous rampage against Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees, Alex Karpovsky and Melanie Lynskey presented the night's first award: the Gotham Independent Film Audience Award.

The trophy, which was voted for online, went to the documentary film Artifact by director Jared Leto, who said as he accepted his award, "I feel like Beasts of the Southern Wild should be up here."

Immediately after, Beasts got its moment on stage, as Margin Call director JC Chandor presented the Sundance favorite's helmer Benh Zeitlin with breakthrough director. "It feels like you're on the yellow brick road sometimes," Zeitlin said following his win.

Emily Blunt and Jack Black -- one-time co-stars in Gulliver's Travels and part of Gotham-nominated films -- bantered a bit before offering up the breakthrough actor Award, which went to Emayatzy Corinealdi from The Middle of Nowhere. Corinealdi beat out Birbiglia (Sleepwalk With Me), Lynskey (Hello I Must Be Going) and Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts).

The winner of the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You went to An Oversimplication of Her Beauty, directed by Terence Nance and produced by Nance, Andrew Corkin and James Bartlett. The film tells the love story between two young African Americans.

More to come ...